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Psionics Unleashed
 
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Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Psionics Unleashed
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Psionics Unleashed
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/05/2011 14:24:09
Psionics Unleashed by Dreamscarred Press

This product is 231 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, and ToC. (5 pages)

*Note – (I wanted to point out, I was never a huge fan of Psionics, I was given this product for the purpose of this review. I have nothing against Psioncis they was just never my thing. So I am writing this review from the point of view of someone who is coming in that is new to psionics.)

Introduction (2 pages)
This gets into what Psionics are, about their powers, over all chapter breakdown, changes made and why, it ends with a message from the two main authors of the book, talking about the project.

Chapter 1 – Races (12 pages)
This section has 8 new races, who are all psionicly adept. It lists full information about them. From game mechanics, society, description, relations to other races and Psionic Aptitude.(special things they get when taking their favored class) Below is a list of the new races and brief overview.
Blue – a goblin race.
Dromite – Halfling sized insect people.
Duergar – you know what they are, dwarves.
Elan – created race, chosen from other races and transformed.
Half-giant – They sound more like a new race of giants though they are supposed half fire giant but it doesn't really say or imply what other half they are, I suppose human.
Maenad – More or less a new ethnic group of humans.
Ophiduan – a reptilian based race.
Xeph – a new race that looks fairly human.

Chapter 2 – Classes (18 pages)
This section has 4 new base classes. It has a section about how to update your old classes to the new versions, a section on multi-classing, and power points. After this it gets into each of the new classes. I copied a bit of the book below to give a bit about each class.
Psion: A master of the mind, a seeker of knowledge of psionics. - More or less the equal of a full caster class. Low BaB, hp etc. They have six disciplines to choose from, sorta like magic schools in a way.
Psychic Warrior: A soldier who combines psionic power with physical prowess. - To me it seemed to be more like a self buffing bard that fights. They gain warriors paths, abilities to do special things based on the theme of the path.
Soulknife: A warrior who creates a unique weapon out of mental energy. - This one is a bit hard to explain, it is a light armored fighter that uses their mind to create weapons to attack with. Other than just giving their mental energy weapon bonuses they can also give them special abilities, such as shocking, holy, keen etc.
Wilder: A natural talent with psionics who channels emotion to wield uncontrolled power. - There is really no class or roll they are really like. They have great power but limited control.

Chapter 3 – Skills and Feats (18 pages)
This talks about any skill that works different, or in the case of spellcraft how it is used for psionic power checks etc. The choose to condense the skill list to fit pathfinder and mesh psionics and magic more. Use magic device is used for magic and psionic devices for example. Some might not like these changes, me I do. That was always one of my issues with psionics before. It does the same thing with feats, such as magic item creation feats, what types of psionic items can be created with the feat. There is also 69 new psionic based feats, to many to list honestly but all of them seemed on par with existing feats.

Chapter 4 – Psionics (14 pages)
This section gets into how powers work, saves, costs, adding powers, resistance(which like other stuff is now the same as Spell Resistance, a monster with one has the same for both), how to use psionics in your games, variant rules so psionics and magic don't overlap. Basically a overview of how the powers work and how to use them in your campaign.

Chapter 5 – Powers (86 pages)
This has the power lists for the classes. Followed by the write up of each of the powers. There is about 290 powers in the book. Some copy the effects of existing spells(to a point), while others are totally new.

Chapter 6 - Prestige Classes (20 pages)
This section deals with new prestige classes for the psionic base classes or non-psionic base classes to take. There is 9 new PrC's in this section.
Cerebremancer: A practitioner of both arcane magic and psionic power, wielding both efficiently. - Combines psionic powers with arcane spells.
Elocater: A master of altering gravity and space, performing seemingly impossible maneuvers. - any martial class and psionic class could work.
Metamind: A manifester who sacrifices his expertise with higher level abilities to expand his reservoir of power.
Phrenic Slayer: A hunter of a type of psionic creature who gains abilities to aid in the chase. - Can work with any melee class and psionic class, but ranger seems to fit best.
Psion Uncarnate: A manifester who has left the need for a physical body behind.
Psychic Fist: A monk who uses his innate psionic ability to augment his martial prowess. - Seems like a good soul knife/monk combo.
Pyrokineticist: A wielder of flame, sending bolts of fire at enemies and using their body heat to heal.
Thrallherd: A manifester who puts out a psionic call for thralls and believers. - a PrC that focuses on controlling the minds of others.
Warmind: A devastating warrior who learns many secret combat techniques.

Chapter 7 – Psionic Items (28 pages)
How to use psionic items. More or less they are similar to how magic items already exist in the game. It does have some psionic effects of their own and a good list of psionic premade items.

Chapter 8 – Psionic Monsters (25 pages)
There is 20 monsters in this section, with a couple having more than one variation like the construct.

Glossary (2 pages)
This explains all the terms used in the book and what they mean.

It ends with a OGL and ad. (2 pages)

Closing thoughts. As I mentioned at the start I was never a fan of psionics, I had nothing against them. I just felt they never added enough, for the work required to add a new total system to the game. With this book combining a lot of the aspects like use of skills, resistances etc that in my honest opinion makes psionics a lot easier to adapt into more traditional games. The writing was good and I didn't notice any major errors, it was fairly easy to understand for a newbie just get into it. The layout was decent but there was a few spots where there was some wasted space, end of the feats chapter was a big one. A single feat on a otherwise blank page.

The art ranged wildly, some was color, some was black and white. Some was cartoony and other more traditional. The quality also wildly ranged as well. I honestly found the art to be a let down. It wasn't the quality but the clashing styles was more of a problem for me. This book basically takes the existing psionic rules and updates them to Pathfinder rules and meshes them much better with the game in my opinion. I think these rules as someone who was not a fan of psionics before to be a vast improvement over the old rules. Enough so that I for the first time in a very long time, will experiment with using them in my games again. To see how it goes. I am not ready to let them fully in, but the book did a good enough job that I will sprinkle them in and see how it goes.

The feats, powers, classes etc. They all seem well written and well balanced against the existing Pathfinder core rules. I didn't find anything overly powerful or overly weak. I am unsure how it stacks up with the previous books as I only have passing knowledge with the 3.5 psionic rules. My main issues with the book was clashing art styles and I thought the layout could have been done better. So whats my rating? I find this one hard to rate since I think it depends if you was already a fan of psionics or not. Personally I am giving it a 4 star review from my point of view. For fans of psionics that want something for their Pathfinder game I think you will be very pleased. For those that thought psionics had issues before but was not dead seat against them, you might want to check the book out, it might just change your mind. If you was one of those that just hate the idea of psionics in fantasy, well I don't think this book will change your mind.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Unleashed
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/30/2010 12:34:31
Some people are just naturally inclined to do some things. The creative minions at Dreamscarred Press have proved time and time again that there is no other group of writers on this content that can do Psionics as good as them.

A little history on Dreamscarred Press. Throughout the 3.5 days, they consistently made the psionics writers at WOTC look like amateurs with their own system. Dreamscarred pretty much rewrote the core book and added races and classes that made psionics feel like the alien techno-magic that it is.

It should be no surprise to anyone that Psionics Unleashed, the official psionics book for the Pathfinder system, is a delightfully comprehensive addon to any campaign. It takes all the good psionics rules that were in the previous 3.5 edition, and enhances them with the type of power trip that makes Pathfinder so much fun.

The 231 page book is bloated with every detail you will need to run a psionics campaign, add psionics to your current campaign or create a psionics character. Dreamscarred even gives you a little peek inside the minds of the creators and explains why certain changes were made.

Unleashed does a great job of making sure that everyone knows there is a distinct difference between magic and psionics without making the distinction mechanically cumbersome as in the previous decision. Flavorfully, psionics feels like an alien magic. It opens up a new world of casting where players use mental abilities to enhance themselves and hamper foes. Mechanically, Unleashed nixes pointless skills and rules to make psionic characters compatible and usuable in a normal magic world.

The PDF starts off by presenting psionic races and all the usual suspects are here except the Gith. However, the new lizard like Ophiduans will do nicely in their spot. The book then moves on to classes and you are shown more of the psionics system.

The power point system is intact. However, psionic classes now have abilities they can cast frequently just like other pathfinder races. There are four classes presented in the book. All of which are adaptations of classes from the 3.5 Psionic system. Knowing the extraordinary psionic classes from Dreamscarred products, I was surprised to not find one or two thrown in here. However, the complete reworking of the supermonk Soulknife class suffices enough. Certain to be the most used class, it combines the decent fighting abilities of a monk with a limited amount of psionic powers that can tip the field of battle.

After reworking the way magic skills interact with psionic skills, by making them work the same, Unleashed then introduces the powers themselves. As with its predecessor, the spells feel strange and foreign. The descriptions are written to make the reader feel the supernatural essence that differentiates psionics from magic.

To insure that it is a complete supplement, items, monsters and additional campaign options round out the PDF.

For the Player
Psionics is great for players who enjoy being different without being obnoxious. The spell point system feels far more natural than the Vatican spell system that haunts D&D.

For the Dungeon Master
This book brings back some emotional memories for me, as my first campaign was a psionics campaign. The efforts to minimize the once overpowering aspect of psionics works well and adds a new dimension to a campaign world.

The Iron Word
Psionics Unleashed is the kind of supplement you need to have in your arsenal. You can plan an entire game around around the new mysteries of psionics, or add it to your world when the PCs go to some unknown land.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Just a quick note: Psionics Unleashed is not the official psionic system for Pathfinder roleplaying game. Otherwise, thanks for the good review!
Psionics Unleashed
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/28/2010 15:02:20
Oh psionics…you had me at “psi.” The powers of the mind are one of those things that people have either loved dearly or hated passionately every since they were introduced to D&D, and now thanks to the efforts of Dreamscarred Press, they live again in Pathfinder in the form of Psionics Unleashed. But will this repository of psionic material blow your mind, or just give you a walloping migraine? Let’s take a look.

Weighing in at just under 250 pages, Psionics Unleashed handles itself admirably on the technical details. A single PDF file has full, nested bookmarks and has copy and paste enabled. The book’s artwork is somewhat sparse, usually manifesting as illustrations (usually black and white, but with the occasional color piece) set in the center of the page, letting two columns of text flow around them. Interestingly, most have a caption beneath them.

The major thing that needs to be made clear about Psionics Unleashed is that this is the Pathfinder version of the 3.5 psionics rules. This cannot be overstated. Dreamscarred Press went out of their way to emulate the design principles and philosophies that Paizo Publishing adopted when creating Pathfinder – from having an open playtest to removing XP costs for powers, the changes here are pervasive, but many of them are subtle.

The biggest not-so-subtle changes are among the various races and the classes. All of the familiar psionic races are here (save for those protected by WotC’s PI), alongside the blue, now treated as a PC race in its own right, and the serpentine ophidians. Similarly, the four psionic base classes have gotten a fairly significant overhaul. Psions now choose a particular discipline to specialize in, or simply be a generalist, with each discipline having a number of additional powers and bonus abilities (much like wizard schools). The psychic warrior now selects various warrior paths that add skills, powers, and abilities as they level. Similarly, wilders can select various types of wild surges, which can also be utilized in different manners.

The biggest class to be changed, however, is the soulknife. Fans of Dreamscarred will know that they’ve been applying ways to fix this sub-optimal class for a long time, and here they put that history to good use. Finally upgraded to a full-BAB progression class, the soulknife now can take various blade skills at every even level to improve or alter his mind blade in various ways, alongside simply increasing its power as he gains levels. It’s nice to see such a thematic class finally be made strong enough to hold its own.

The remaining changes are somewhat harder to spot, but as with the Pathfinder Core Rules, tend to add up. The Psicraft and Use Psionic Device skills, for example, are now gone; folded into their magic counterparts. A number of feats – oftentimes ones that relied on maintaining psionic focus – now have additional functionality, usually being based around expending your psionic focus for a short-lived greater boost. Psionic powers no longer have XP costs (instead requiring expensive crystalline components to act as a sort of focusing device), and in many cases have had their names changed. These nomenclature alterations are reserved to those that were called “[magic spell], psionic” so as to stop with the impression that these are second fiddle to magic. Want to control someone else’s actions? Use “mind control” rather than “dominate, psionic.”

It should also be noted that virtually none of the expanded options from the Advanced Player’s Guide are reproduced here. Most psionic races do have a favored class option to take an additional psionic power point instead of a skill rank or hit point, but that’s about it. No new racial options, class archetypes, etc. are to be found. This isn’t something I held against the book; that will most certainly come in time. Rather, it should be made clear that Psionics Unleashed is what you get when you merge the PF Core Rules with the old Expanded Psionics Handbook.

Ultimately, this book won’t win over anyone who wasn’t already a fan of psionics, but then again, it’s not meant to change the whole dynamic. What it’s meant to do is give the people who want psionics in their Pathfinder game a means of having them. And in that regard, Psionics Unleashed delivers in spades. Fixing what needs it and leaving alone what doesn’t, this book is a true Pathfinder upgrade to 3.5’s psionic legacy. So, if you’ve been waiting for a chance to dust off your old telepath, or have your soulknife power up his mind blade again, or want to attack your PCs with some unexpected mental powers, pick up this book, convert your character, and unleash the power of the mind in your Pathfinder game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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